Google Riding 3D Trend with BumpTop Acquisition
in Strategy & Trends | by Ethan Lyon
Believe it or not, 3D technology emerged in American culture in 1950s, yet we are only now seeing it crop-up in our entertainment. Why have we only now “discovered” the decades old technology? Tech companies, from startups to industry leaders, are weighing in on 3D trend to meet consumer demand. Most recently, Google acquired the 3D computer software startup, BumpTop Technologies. The BumpTop software turns your computer screen into a “real,” 3D desktop that uses touch-gestures to manipulate files and objects. What has re-ignited our passion for 3D in 2010? Consumers want a more immersive experience and only now is 3D technology being perfected.
Consumers are searching for more in-depth, engaging experiences. They want to explore the world around them in new and interesting ways. Prior to the 3D boom, the internet allowed them to peel-back the many layers of their lives and those around them. Consider social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, MySpace — all enable users to learn more about the people and news around them. FourSquare, in particular, immerses its users by connecting the real world environment and social networking. For instance, if I go to Starry Nights Cafe and my friend who happens to be in the area sees that I’m nearby could stop in to chat over a cup of coffee.
The other key component that led to the rise of 3D is tech advancement. Consider the runaway success of James Cameron’s 3D sensation, Avatar — the top grossing movie of all time. Cameron developed technology to re-invent the 3D-viewing experience. Or consider Sony, Samsung and Panasonic’s first generation 3D home entertainment systems. Nintendo is exploring 3D in the gaming arena with its soon-to-be-released 3DS and the iPhone enables augmented reality apps (think Layar) that leverages 3D in the real-world environment.
Given 3D is saturating nearly all entertainment channels and it offers users a more immersive experience, the computer is poised to be the next frontier. Granted, we have World of Warcraft and other 3D game environments, but we do not incorporate the technology in our day-to-day computing — much like Sony, Samsung and Panasonic aim to integrate 3D into our home entertainment. Google’s acquisition of BumpTop Technology’s software does just that: everyday 3D interaction. Could the tech innovator be onto something with its most recent acquisition? If the computer is the next frontier for 3D entertainment, Google is positioning itself ahead of the curve.